2018-08-01 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Rezoning Issues

A copy of this letter was received at the
offices of the Queens Gazette.
July 9, 2018
Dear Mr. Young, Director Queens Borough Office, Dept. of City Planning
Re: 1664 Woodbine Street, Ridgewood, NY 11385

Late Thursday afternoon, July 5, 2018 Community Board 5 informed us of a disturbing situation at 1664 Woodbine Street, between Cypress and St. Nicholas Avenue. This information came from a concerned resident who lives on that block. This is yet another example of an outside developer coming into our community and using present zoning to tum a 3 story 6 family unit structure into 12 units while adding 2 stories, destroying the architectural integrity of this block which is located in one of Ridgewood’s 16 State And Federal Historic Districts.

Since we have begun the formal process of rezoning Ridgewood as was done in 1998-2000, the last rezoning process we are asking for is a moratorium on any activity that requires NYC Dept. of Buildings approval and/or action that involves adding additional stories or height to a building and adding additional housing units. We are asking that this moratorium be retroactive to June 5, 2018.

Furthermore, if this was a NYC Landmarked District this would never have been allowed. We have been asking for NYC Landmark Designation for some 8- 10 years for all of our Federal and State Historic District areas (almost 2,982 buildings). We need to move forward on this as soon as possible.

Paul Kerzner
Theodore M. Renz
Myrtle Avenue BID

Outrageous Situation

A copy of this letter was received at the
offices of the Queens Gazette.
July 13, 2018
Honorable Bill de Blasio
Mayor of the City of New York
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
Re: 1664 Woodbine Street, Ridgewood, NY 11385

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

We have received the enclosed correspondence from Paul Kerzner and Theodore Renz in regard to an outrageous situation in Ridgewood. As you can see from the correspondence, the above referenced building has recently obtained a building permit to change from a three-story six-family into a 12-unit by adding two stories and destroying the integrity and character of the block. Due to this situation, we support and fully endorse their call for a moratorium on any activity retroactive from June 5 that requires NYC Department of Building approval of additional stories until the revised downzoning plan is approved. Any approval of this unsafe, out-of-context destruction of our community would be wrong and we would urge your agency to assist us in stopping this destruction.

As you know, both Mr. Kerzner and Mr. Renz are working with your agency on a zoning change which calls for a contextual downzone of all residential and commercial areas. This plan, which has been approved by Community Board 5, was developed in response to a number of recent large-scale building proposals within the neighborhood that are out of character within Ridgewood and the surrounding community. Left unchecked, the current zoning regulations will have a detrimental effect and speed up the potential for additional high rise developments. This would forever alter the neighborhood’s identity and negatively affect the quality of life for all of Ridgewood and western Queens residents. Ridgewood is made up of medium to low-rise buildings and should not be transformed into a dense, high-rise community.

The proposed request for a moratorium has our complete and full support. We would ask that you and your agency look into this request and get back to us and Queens Community Board 5 as soon as possible. Thank you again for your attention on this matter and we look forward to your response.

Catherine Nolan
Michael Miller
Members of NYS Assembly

Remember TV Dinners?

To The Editor:

July 2018 marked the 13th anniversary of the passing of TV dinner inventor Gerry Thomas. His employer Swanson & Company, overestimated the demand for Thanksgiving turkey in 1953. They were stuck with 260 tons of frozen turkeys. The birds were stored for many weeks in 10 refrigerated train cars which traveled back and forth on a train between Nebraska and the East Coast. The train had to be moving so the compressors which supported the refrigerators preserving the turkeys could keep working.

In the early 1950s, Thomas observed how airlines provided passengers with meals in aluminum serving trays. He modified this by adding separate sections for the main course, vegetable and potato. This resulted in the first Swanson TV Dinner. For only 89 cents, over 25 million were sold in 1954, which was the first year of production. Many were consumed by customers watching television, which was also still a relatively new invention in the 1950s. Mr. Thomas was the marketing genius for Swanson & Company who came up with the name “TV dinner.”

Growing up in the 1960s as a teenager, my dad was a teacher during the day and a high school librarian several nights per week. On those evenings, I would have to prepare dinner for myself and my younger sister. When we tired of the local options such as McDonalds, Wetsons, pizza or Chinese take-out, TV dinners were a quick solution. Selections were provided by either Swanson’s, Banquet or Morton’s. They were the big three competitors during that era. The standard choices were either chicken, turkey, roast beef or meatloaf, referred to as “mystery meat.” Cooking time was 30 minutes in the oven as microwaves hadn’t yet been invented.

A real treat in those days were the TV dinners which provided a fourth compartment, containing a brownie for dessert. Sometimes two TV dinners were required to satisfy your appetite as the portions were never that big. Recycling was unheard of in those days as millions of aluminum TV dinner plates went straight into the garbage can. I can only imagine today how much space was taken up at the local community landfill site over the decades.

The selection of TV dinners at your local supermarket today is much different from those of past generations. Besides Swanson’s, Banquet and Morton’s, there are many more competitors such as Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, Stouffers, Boston Market, Marie Callender’s and others. Their various product lines offer far more variety and selections. Far healthier choices are available for today’s generation on the go.

Even during college and post-college bachelor days, TV dinners always found some space in the freezer compartment of my refrigerator.

Lucky for me, my wife Wendy is a great cook and I’ve learned some skills in the kitchen myself since then.

Perhaps the United States Post Office should consider issuing a stamp for Gerry Thomas and the TV dinner, still American as apple pie 65 years later.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Save Speed Cams

To The Editor:

I am totally appalled that the speed cameras near schools will expire. That will lead to fatalities and injuries and children will be hurt. This is not a matter of politics. Political games must not be played at the risk of children’s lives. I do agree with Felder that police officers must be placed in front of schools.

Also children who attend Yeshiva schools must learn secular subjects as well.

I applaud Senator Addabbo for giving a commendation to a 100-year-old Queens resident at a self help center.

I am glad that our president no longer will have tariffs on the EU. That should be the same with China and Canada. We need to stop trade wars with Canada and with China. I agree with our governor that we should rescind the tariff of 30 percent from Canada. Free trade is necessary. I am glad that Pablo Villavicencio is back with his family. He did not have to be put into jail for 53 days.

I am appalled by the mass firings at the Daily News. Our hometown newspapers are dying.

Amazon cannot replace a library. Libraries provide lectures, speakers, educational programs, children’s programs, language, and citizenship programs, as well as books. Nothing can replace a book. Also it provides a place to relax and read.

I agree that grandparents are essential and my grandmother who lived with us for 25 years taught me so many valuable lessons— religion, love and caring for others— and her unconditional love was a blessing that taught me to love and to reach out to others. I also believe in intergenerational programs where seniors interact with schoolchildren. They learn from each other.

I am glad that Big Bush park is reopened in Woodside.

I am appalled that the Daily News fired its editor, its editor-in-chief and most of its employees due to the digital age. The crispness of a newspaper when its pages are turned is a lovely sound. It is shameful that people are no longer reading newspapers. I hope that our governor will do what his father did and help the Daily News. So many people depend upon that paper for news and not everyone has a computer or smart phone app.

I think that facial recognition of people entering the building as part of a security system is a great idea. Homemade 3-D printed guns that are plastic and cannot be discovered or detected in a metal detector are against the law.

In addition, it is awful again that in Toronto a person with a gun shot and killed and injured people. This must be stopped. Where is the moral fiber and the obeying of the commandment Thou Shall Not Kill?

Trump’s remarks to Iran and Iran’s language to our nation is awful. This constant bickering, threats etc. are shameful and is making our nation the laughingstock of the world. Let us put rational thinking in the mind and proper speech in the mouth of our president.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

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